WWE and AEW may on the verge of their first bidding war.
Earlier this week a report surfaced indicating that Dave Batista and WWE were in "deep talks" for a WrestleMania 35 return. However, upstart promotion AEW apparently wants Batista and Chris Jericho just employed himself as the company's salesman.
Jericho posted a photo of he and The Animal saying that they "had a great chat." Pro Wrestling Sheet reports that Jericho set up the meeting to give Batista a stiff sell of AEW.
Jericho was AEW biggest signing—before Kenny Omega—and apparently has taken it upon himself to help build the company. Adding Batista would be a humongous grab by AEW, but how likely is it to happen?
Batista has been vocal in recent months about wanting to return to wrestling, but his hopes have seemingly been tied to only WWE.
"I have to say that it's something I think about daily," Batista told WhatCulture Wrestling. "I miss it daily. I love it, I have a passion for wrestling. I feel that at the core of me that's just who I am. I'm a physical performer, and I miss it every day."
Bautista and WWE have apparently been sniffing one another for at least a year with The Animal being the original tag team partner for Ronda Rousey at WrestleMania 35. However, WWE went cold on the idea and switched Batista out for Kurt Angle.
But last fall, rumors of Batista vs. Triple H getting a WrestleMania program looked to be ready to manifest at SmackDown 1000. However, Triple H sustained a torn pectoral and his WrestleMania availability is in serious doubt.
So no that Batista's WrestleMania plans have been thwarted, AEW may be a better option. Regardless, he told WWE that 2019 will be last year of in-ring competition.
"I told them next year would be my last year," Batista said. "I'm turning 50 next year, I'd be willing to. I feel great. Physically, I'm in great shape. I've never let up on that. But I just don't want to be the old guy in the ring and I don't want to overstay my welcome. I just want to end my career the right way and next year will be the last opportunity, so if we can't make something happen by next year, then I'm just gonna officially hang it up."
We'll see where this goes, but everything Batista has said in the last few months indicates that he's only interested in a WWE return However AEW has major money behind them and could potentially outbid Vince McMahon for The Animal's services.